Class of 2020

A new set of requirements for Harvard College students will take effect in Fall 2018, and the Class of 2020 will be transitioned to those new requirements. The Class of 2020 will graduate under the new requirements, but may begin to benefit from the flexibility of the new requirements now.

The new requirements are:

  • one General Education course from each of four perspectives,
  • one course from each of the three academic divisions within FAS (Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences/SEAS),
  • and one course demonstrating quantitative facility.

There is no requirement for Study of the Past. Please see Key Information below to learn more.

Before the start of each term, the General Education office will review each student’s record and update it to reflect the new flexibility. If a student record has been changed, it meant Gen Ed could find additional courses that could be used to fulfill Gen Ed requirements. If a student record has not changed, this means that the student has already completed the Gen Ed requirements, or that no existing courses could be used toward the Gen Ed requirements. Students should access their Academic Advising Report via my.harvard.edu before the start of classes to confirm which requirements are still outstanding. Students may have fewer requirements left to fulfill than expected. (Click here for instructions on how to generate your report.)

Key Information

  • All Gen Ed courses students in the Class of 2020 take prior to Fall 2018 will count toward the new requirements.
  • Any Gen Ed courses students in the Class of 2020 take in Fall 2018 or after will not count toward the new distribution requirement.
  • There will not be a Study of the Past requirement for students in the Class of 2020.
  • Many departmental courses not approved for Gen Ed credit can now count for current Gen Ed requirements. Please note the following:
    • Only four-unit FAS courses taken for a letter grade can count toward Gen Ed requirements.
    • Courses in Expository Writing, language below the advanced level, and Freshman Seminars will not count toward any of the current Gen Ed requirements. Please note that not all advanced language courses can count toward Gen Ed requirements: they must engage primarily in critical inquiry to count. Courses that can fulfill Gen Ed requirements will have a Divisional Distribution designation in the course description on my.harvard.edu. To learn more, see Fulfilling AI & CB, Fulfilling SLS & SPU or Fulfilling SW/USW.
    • In certain paired Gen Ed categories (AI/CB, SLS/SPU, SW/USW), a second course in the same category or in its pair will meet the Gen Ed requirements for the entire pair, or you may receive credit for a departmental course not previously approved for Gen Ed credit for one category per pair. In order to receive this credit, you must first take a Gen Ed course or departmental course that is currently approved for Gen Ed credit. Credit can then be given retroactively, as appropriate, for a departmental course from the relevant academic division. To learn more, see Fulfilling AI & CB, Fulfilling SLS & SPU or Fulfilling SW/USW.
    • Math, Applied Math, Computer Science, and Statistics courses can count for either EMR/Quantitative Reasoning requirement or SLS/SPU/Science & Engineering & Applied Science Distribution requirement, but not both.
    • Certain on-campus, seven-week Harvard Summer School courses and certain Harvard Summer School Study Abroad courses can count toward Gen Ed requirements. Learn more.
  • Certain on-campus, seven-week Harvard Summer School courses and certain Harvard Summer School Study Abroad courses can count toward Gen Ed requirements. Learn more.

For more information, please see our FAQs.

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